wall outlet and wall switch won't turn on lamp

Old 11-03-03, 12:26 PM
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wall outlet and wall switch won't turn on lamp

I have a problem with an wall outlet and wall switch. After some thought and investigating, I thought that one or the other was bad. After replacing both I continue to struggle in getting the switch to trigger the outlet to turn the lamp on. Any ideas?
Old 11-03-03, 01:23 PM
charlie b
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Let’s start with a few questions. (1) Did it ever work? That is, can you assert, based on it having worked before, that the switch is supposed to control that outlet? (2) If that answer is “yes,” then what has changed recently? Any remodeling? If that answer is "no," then what led you to believe that the switch is supposed to control that outlet? (3) Do you have a way of testing either or both, to see if either or both have power?

(4) There should be two screws on the "hot side," to which you can connect black wires. There may be a copper bar that goes between the two screws, so that they are electrically the same point. That bar might have been cut or removed, so that the two screws are electrically isolated from each other. What is the status of that bar? Also, what wires go into and out of the box in which the outlet is installed?
Old 11-03-03, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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The most comon problem in this situationi s that only 1/2 of the receptacle was switched. Someone changed the receptacle and didn't break off the tab on the hot side.
Old 11-04-03, 08:40 AM
charlie b
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A couple more questions. What was the original symptom of the problem? Did the outlet have power all the time, regardless of the position of the switch? Or did the outlet never have power? Did you just move into this residence, and discover the outlet was not working, or have you lived there for a while, and discover that it quit working?

I would hope that you turned off power at the main breaker panel, before attempting to replace the switch and the outlet. But if the problem was that the outlet did not have power, how did you verify that you turned off the right breaker?

Another thought just occurred to me. How many wires are there going into the switch? Is it possible that this is a 3-way or 4-way switch arrangement, and that there is another switch in that room that also controls this same outlet? I have that arrangement in my living room (a pair of 3-way switches that operate the same outlet).

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